• Published 28th Aug 2012
  • 5,767 Views, 241 Comments

Me, You, and a Library for Two - Dull Mist

A story about a stallion meeting his childhood crush for the first time in years.

  • ...

...This Night of Nights...

...This night of Nights...

A little colt with a pale grey coat the colour of a winter sky and a mane the colour of charcoal sat on a raised stool beside a small, single bed that made him feel uncomfortable just to look at. On the bed, a mare lay, motionless except for the rising and falling of her chest, but it was so slight that it couldn’t be discerned as motion from a distance. Only by taking a closer look could somepony tell that she wasn’t a finely crafted poniquin by the slight rise and fall of her chest and the shuddering breaths she took.

The colt sat with his head down, looking at the floor with numb disinterest. He was only dimly aware of his environment, of the uncomfortable metal stool he had been given, of the whirr of the machinery around him, of the muted beeping that cut through the room like a knife.

A loud rattling breath brought his attention upwards, and he found that the mare on the bed was shuddering. He quickly reached out his hoof and firmly pressed it on hers, trying to impart whatever strength he could give into her. Trying to feel like he was doing something to help.

Trying to convince himself that this would pass, as all other problems seemed to up until then. But as he looked upon the mare, her ribs protruding from her sides and her legs thin and knobby, he found it harder and harder to do so.

Slowly, her eyes fluttered open by a crack and the young colt gave a start of surprise. He leaned forward, murmuring to himself as the mare tilted her head slightly and set her gaze upon him.

He froze in his seat. Even with the way she was now, as the young colt, looked at her with wide surprised eyes, he thought she was the prettiest mare in the world. He always had thought that, and he always would.

“My baby…” she whispered, a smile settling on her face. The colt leaned forward breathlessly. Smiles were good, right? They meant that good things were happening and that bad things were going away?

She smiled at him. Did that mean everything was going to be alright?

The colt smiled himself at these thoughts, eager at the prospect of everything going back to normal. He placed another hoof over top hers and leaned closer, being led by an instinctual desire to seek comfort and warmth.

“Not too close baby, not too close…” she murmured. The colt hesitated, his smile faltering a bit.

“I don’t want you to get sick from me…”

The colt was confused. He already was told in no uncertain terms that he couldn’t get sick from her and that what was happening to her was a freak occurrence, not something that was contagious or hereditary.

He voiced these thoughts and the mare smiled again, somewhat sadly this time.

“I know baby. I just want to worry over you…”

The colt looked uncertain, but nodded anyway, his young and inexperienced mind telling him to even though he didn’t understand why.

They sat there, for a little while, the mare’s hoof in his. Her smile remained fixed on the colt and her eyes began to grow misty.

“Baby…I won’t be here much longer…” she murmured, her rattling breath making the words sound broken and weak.

The colt smiled. That meant she was going to get better soon and that she was going to go home! Finally, things were going to go back to normal. She said so herself.

A tear dropped from the mare’s eye and fell down her cheek, greatly confusing the young colt.

“No sweetheart…” She shook her head slightly, a slight motion that seemed to exhaust her. “I’m not going home…”

The colt processed this for a moment. If she wasn’t going home, then where was she going?

He asked her this, and for a long while, the incessant beeping was the only sound in the room.

“I don’t know…” she finally said. Her voice was choked, causing the colt’s brow to furrow. How could she not know? She know's pretty much everything! The colt’s inexperienced mind wrestled with this for a little while, trying to make heads or tails out of it, until he finally gave up. He’ll give it some more thought later, he decided.

Did she at least know how long she was going to be gone?

The mare gasped as a few more tears sprung from her half closed eyes. “For a long time darling. A very long time...”

Well that didn’t tell him much. To him, a long time meant a few weeks, but to her, a long time could be a few years. The colt didn’t think much of this however. His biggest concern was who was going to tell him bedtime stories and who was going to tuck him in at night. She always did it best, after all.

Her breathing became quieter for a moment as her eyes fluttered close for a second before slowly opening again. The mare gave a soft, almost imperceptible squeeze to the colt’s hoof that was over hers.

“Sweetheart, listen to me…” she murmured raspily, causing the colt to cock his head, both in interest for what she had to say and the strange way her voice sounded. “No matter what happens, I want you to be strong... I want you to-” she was interrupted by a wheezing cough, and the colt frowned as the beeping noise started to get faster and more annoying. He leaned forward to better hear what she had to say.

When her coughing fit had subsided, she continued speaking, her voice like a whisper. “I want you to promise me you’ll be strong no matter what happens...that you won’t let your emotions get the better of you…promise me that, baby...”

The colt looked at her, baffled as more tears started to fall down her face, the incessant beeping stabbing into his brain irritatingly. He really wished that stupid thing would shut up, he was trying to hear what she was saying.

He tried to understand what she meant, but when he tried to ask her, she shook her head weakly, yet urgently. “Please baby…promise me that you’ll be strong…please…”

The colt sat wit his mouth open, not sure what was happening or what she was saying. From the look in her tear filled eyes however, he knew that he should just do as she said.

“Please Silver…promise me.”

And so the colt promised. The mare smiled as wide as she could manage.

“Thank you…”

The mare closed her eyes and went back to sleep, and the colt just sat by her side, his hoof in hers. He frowned as the constant beeping transformed into one endless, jarring noise. The machine must be broken or something, he figured, something that bothered him greatly. How was anypony supposed to sleep peacefully with that goddess-awful racket?

He didn’t have time to contemplate it however as the door behind him burst open and the room became a flurry of activity. Instantly, the mare’s bed was surrounded by ponies wearing white coats and shiny implements on their heads and around their necks, some of them speaking urgently to one another and others to the mare. Before the colt was able to reprimand them for disturbing her sleep however, he found a pair of strong, dark gray forelegs wrap around him and lift him off of the stool. The colt struggled, upset about being moved away from his spot, but strange sound coming from the pony distracted him. He looked up to see the tear stricken face of a stallion who was looking at the bed as though it physically hurt him to do so, making strange choking noises from his throat. The stallion quickly put the colt on his back and walked out of the room.

The colt protested as he was carried around the doorway. He put his forelegs around the frame and pulled himself closer so he could see what was going on in the room. Inside, he saw one of the ponies in white coats lay a white blanket over the mare.

The colt nodded in satisfaction as he released the doorframe with his forelegs and let himself be carried away. Now she would be nice and warm.

Silver started awake with a small intake of breath. He was still for a moment as he remembered where he was and who he was with. Without moving his head, he looked down at the mare by his side. Her eyes were closed, and her lips were upturned in a small, content smile.

It wasn’t a smile he shared, however. He didn’t remember most dreams that he had, but he always remembered that particular one. He felt a familiar chill run through his body as he was assaulted by emotions he couldn’t afford to have, and he grimaced, furiously muffling them into nothingness with sheer power of will. The chill still remained, however, and he realized it wasn’t just because of the dream.

He shivered slightly, only just realizing how cold he really was and being thankful that Twilight was close enough to keep him warm and vice versa. The ground had probably been sapping away his body heat as he had slept there.

That was not a very smart thing to do, he realized. It wasn’t like it was the middle of summertime where the nights were almost as hot as the days. How long had they been sitting there? Hopefully not for long enough to warrant concern from the townsponies.

He craned his neck to look behind him and the tree he was leaning against. He could just see the glow of lights and activity coming from Ponyville lying not too far away. In the sky, he saw the full moon, brighter and bigger than usual, at its very peak.

Silver sighed, thankful. They couldn’t have been here for more than 30 minutes.

He felt Twilight stir beside him, no doubt awakened by his moving. She shifted and moaned tiredly as her eyes fluttered open to meet the night, and more importantly, to meet him.

“And Sleeping Beauty awakes....” Silver said with a smile, quoting the famous play by Colt Disney.

Twilight blinked, and then chuckled lightly. “Oho…you’re such a flatterer…” she said with a blush while good-naturedly batting at him with a hoof as she straightened herself off his shoulder. She yawned and stretched her forehooves before looking around as though only just realizing where they were.

“How long was I out?” she asked blearily.

Silver repressed a laugh at the sight of the mare groggily rubbing at her eyes. It seemed that the two of them had been more tired than they had both thought considering they had fallen asleep under a tree without meaning to. It was rather nice though.

“Not too long.” Silver replied, managing to repress a yawn. “I just woke up also.”

Twilight nodded. “I see.” she said quietly, looking around her. Ponyville was just visible over the small hill they had came over, and her eyes settled on it. She looked uncertain for a moment before shaking her head and smiling.

“I think that we can afford to stay here for a little while longer.” she said, adjusting herself so that she lay comfortably on her fetlocks. Silver grinned as he did the same and lay next to her.

A frog croaked amidst a small cluster of reeds by the water and crickets chirped in the grass and sparse foliage. For a while, the two ponies were silent, and the only noise that could be heard from the wildlife around them.

Silver was happy with this. No words were necessary between them, he knew, as they would be useless. Simply being here beside one another was enough for the both of them. Any feeling they wanted to convey to one another could be done with a simple look or a smile, and the two ponies often did find themselves looking at one another.

He had spent many nights in situations a lot like this, basking in the moonlight and silently reveling in the peace, but he had always been alone. Now however, he wasn’t, and he had no desire to be. Sitting next to the librarian, Silver realized something startling.

For the first time of his life, he was completely at peace, both mentally and emotionally. Ever since he had been a child, he had been struggling in an inner battle between his heart and his mind, one always vying for domination over the other, but for the first time in his life, the rational side of him and the emotional side of him weren’t fighting for control. Rather, it was like they suddenly fell in sync with one another. No longer was the muffled of voice feeling crushed under the hard one of logic. Now, they sung together in a harmonious song he has never heard or felt before. It was why he had been so unusually happy as of late, as Twilight remarked in their earlier game of chess.

It wasn’t something that Silver Quill would easily be able to put into words, nor would he be able to explain why, but by Celestia, he was going to try. He owed her that much.

“Hey Twilight…”

The mare turned her head towards him. “Hm?”

“Do you…” Silver paused and swallowed, consciously aware of his heart thudding in his chest and being silently grateful of the fact that she wasn’t leaning against him anymore, lest she feel it. “Do you feel up to listening now?” he asked, trying not to let his voice crack.

She looked at him unresponsively for a moment before it dawned on her. “Oh. You mean about what we talked about in the library?”

Silver nodded, his mouth dry. “Yeah. About why I’ve been so acting so…different, lately.”

Twilight shuffled where she lay, getting herself more comfortable before she settled and smiled at him. “Alright then, I’m all ears.”

Silver nodded, looking away from her and down at his hooves. He knew that if he kept his eyes on her, he would never be able to focus his mind enough to get the words out, especially considering that he didn’t actually know what it was he was going to say and was counting on his mind to fill in the blanks for him. What was it that Rarity had said? He has to be looking at the canvas before he can paint on it? Well, he had the brush in hoof, and it was time to start painting.

He looked back up and met her eyes, curious and interested as she waited for him to speak. Somehow, he was supposed to dictate every strange and unusual feeling he had without even knowing how. Seeing her cock her head curiously, Silver couldn’t help but feel that he was standing blindfolded on a mile high diving board, preparing to jump off of it without knowing if there was a pool of water underneath.


He was drawing a complete blank. He frantically scoured his mind for something to say, but found nothing. He examined every stray thought that he had, turning them inside out for some sort of inspiration, but was left extremely wanting. He had to resist the urge to grit his teeth and grimace at the effort of trying to strain his thoughts into action. All he could do was look at her helplessly, desperately wanting to tell her how he felt, how he truly felt, how her smile lit up his day, how he desperately wanted to kiss her on that ferris wheel, but he couldn’t. All he could do was be silent.

Yet again, Silver’s usually calm and organized mind was a cacophony of confusion that he couldn’t begin to understand. All because of this mare.

Twilight’s brow furrowed as she saw the distress on his face. “Silver? Are you alright?” she asked, her voice tinged with concern. Silver flinched slightly at the sound of her voice, and looked away.

“Dammnit, what is wrong with me!?” he thought angrily. “This shouldn’t be hard! I just have to…tell her…” Silver sighed. “something that I’ve never told somepony before and don’t fully understand myself…”

“Hey…” Twilight’s concerned voice reached his ears, unconsciously causing his chest to tighten. He felt a gentle hoof take his cheek and move his head back up to face her. Silver felt a sharp pang of regret when he saw the worried expression on her face.

“Don’t worry about it, okay?” she said softly. “Whenever you’re ready to talk, I’ll be ready listen.”

Silver’s breath caught in his throat. He looked at the unicorn, her gentle hoof still on his cheek, and smiled gratefully.


She smiled back and, to Silver’s slight chagrin, withdrew her hoof. Before either of them could say anything more, however, the sound of wingbeats above and behind them drew their attention.

“Hello there my little ponies. I was wondering where you had run off to.”

The two turned to see a smiling Luna easily hovering in the air behind them, her wings moving in long and lazy movements as they gave her just enough thrust to keep her airborne.

Inwardly, Silver Quill cheered with joy, but he only showed a small smile. This had definitely not been going the way he had expected or hoped, and Luna’s arrival would be a welcome distraction for the two of them.

“Hey there Luna.” Silver called up to her, beckoning her down. “What brings you all the way out here?”

The Princess of the Night spread her wings and glided down gracefully to land a few paces away from where the two ponies were resting near the water. As she landed, she disturbed the hiding place of a small group of fireflies, sending them curiously flurrying around her.

“Nightmare Moon has collected her fair share of candy for tonight and is now tired from hunting for fillies and colts to gobble up.” She watched one of the fireflies coil up and around her horn with a small smile on her face. “I had to make a suitably dramatic exit about how they "hadn’t seen the last of me!" before leaving to change back to normal, and then I happened upon you two.”

Twilight smiled with amusement at the antics of the town and of the princess. “Is that so?” she asked before patting on the ground next to her.. “Well, why don’t you pull up some grass and rest a while? I know firsthoof how tiring Ponyville can be.”

Luna gave her a tired smile. “Aye, my wings do feel a bit heavy.” She stepped over to where Twilight indicated and sank to fetlocks with a sigh. “Oh, that Pinkie had me chasing her for what had to be hours…”

Twilight blinked. “Hours?” She considered this for a moment, her brow furrowing. “Princess, what time is it?”

“Tis a little after 10 Twilight Sparkle, why do you ask?”

The mare’s eyes widened. She slapped her hoof to her forehead and groaned. “Oh, it is way past Spike’s bedtime!” she groaned. “He’ll barely be able to walk straight tomorrow if he doesn’t go to sleep soon!” A yawn interrupted her, causing her to blush in front of the two ponies. “I should probably be turning in as well now that I think about it.” She softly smiled to herself. “It’s been a busy night.

She stood up and dusted herself off, wiping off bits of grass that was sticking to her hooves, giving them a regretful look as she did so. “I’m so sorry, but I really need to go and get him to bed. He’ll be driving me up the wall tomorrow if I don’t.”

Silver and Luna nodded in understanding. “I last saw the little drake in the presence of the Element of Laughter, though I don’t know if he still is.” Luna quipped.

Twilight nodded. “Thank you. I’ll check with her first then.” She turned her attention back to Silver and gave him a small, but meaningful smile, causing his heartbeat to quicken just by looking at it.. “I’ll see you back at the library then.”

He nodded in return, and with that, Twilight lit up her horn and teleported away with a purple flash of light.

Silver gave a small sigh after she vanished, his shoulders slumping slightly as he allowed himself to adopt a slightly bitter expression. He seethed with annoyance at himself for a moment, frustrated at his inability to do something that should be fairly simple. He made sure to not show enough frustration that Luna would pick up on it, however.

“Is there something wrong Silver?”

Silver blinked. “Oh, right. She’s over a thousand years old and has the experience to speak for it. I forgot.”

He sighed and shook his head, more to himself than to her question. “No, nothings wrong Luna. I’m just…” he trailed off, staring at the gently rippling reflection of the full moon on the pond’s surface.

“Conflicted?” Luna asked helpfully.

He nodded slowly. “Yeah. That.”

Luna made a thoughtful and impassive hmmm. Silver glanced at her to see her tapping her chin with her hoof thoughtfully.

“Is she smiling?” He thought to himself as saw the barest hint of a smile. It vanished quickly, however, and he pushed it out of his mind.

The princess turned her gaze back to him. “May I ask what you are conflicted about?”

“To be honest Luna, I’m not even sure anymore.” He replied with another weary shake of his head.

“Ah. Tis one of those conundrums, is it?”

Silver barked a laugh. “Yeah.”

Luna adopted another thoughtful expression as she contemplated her moon in the sky. The two ponies were silent for a moment; both lost in their own minds as the world moved around them. The world seemed to sit still for a moment. There wasn’t a hint of wind in the air or a sound more substantial than the breathing of the two ponies. In Ponyville, sleepy ponies of all ages were likely turning in their costumes, their night of nightmares finished, and were going to sleep, already thinking about next years Nightmare Night.

Silver breathed in deep, reveling in the peaceful stillness of the night where it seemed that he was the only one awake at the moment.

“You know my friend…” Luna started to say slowly. “my mother often told my sister and I…oh don’t look so surprised, just because I am a princess does not make me any less of a pony. Of course I had a mother!”

Silver blushed and coughed into his hoof awkwardly before gesturing for her to continue with what she was saying. Luna smirked at him before continuing.

“Well, when my sister and I were learning about the duties we’d have upon attaining princesshood, my mother often told us that that there were two types of problems in this world, the problems of the mind, and the problems of the heart. She told us that we would have to learn the difference of the two if we were to be good rulers as she and father was.”

Luna paused to let her words sink in, watching Silver curiously as he sat there with a thoughtful look on his face, contemplating what she said as he chewed the inside of his cheek.

“You see, young Silver Quill, the heart and the mind are simply two sides of the same coin. My mother would tell us that problems of the mind are logical, and as such, cannot be remedied by anything but a logical mind.” Silver’s eyes narrowed as he considered this, and Luna continued. "One can not solve a mathematical equation without having the right formulae knowledge, correct?”

She received an unsure nod in response.

“That is why problems of the mind can only be solved by the mind, because it is only the mind that is capable of being logical. The heart can not.”

Silver nodded once more, still hesitantly. Luna smiled at this and leaned her head closer down to his level where he lay on the grass, looking at him meaningfully.

“Problems of the heart, however, are completely different.” She said quietly, causing Silver to strain his ears slightly to hear what she was saying. “To put it lightly, they do not make any sense at all. There is no logic to it, no rhyme or reason. They stem from the deepest and strongest emotions that reside within us. Anger, sadness, hate…” she paused for a moment, smiling at her attentive friend. “…love. These are what cause problems of the heart, the strongest and most primal emotions that we feel.”

“I see…” Silver said slowly. He looked at Luna with a confused look on his face. “But I don’t see the point in all of this.”

Luna chuckled good naturedly. “The point, my friend, is that a fish cannot teach a bird to swim, nor can a bird teach a fish to fly.” Silver’s eyebrow furrowed, and Luna continued.

“If one were to have a problem of the heart, a problem that defied all reason, logic, or scientific process, the mind would be very hard pressed to find any solutions. The heart, however, is not logical, nor is it reasonable. It is very fickle, and seems to move from one direction to another with only the slightest provocation. Conversely, a problem of the mind could not be solved by the heart.” She thought for a moment before smiling. “The heart and mind are two sides of the same coin, you see. Similar in many ways, yet completely opposite in many others.” She peered at unicorn beside her. “Do you understand what I’m saying?”

Silver was quiet for the moment. “The heart…and the mind…” He mentally went over every difficulty he has had over the past few days, difficulties that revolved around a particular mare, but were not caused by her. He went over every instance where he felt like he was confused beyond measure, lost in an endless sea of worry and anxiety, fruitlessly trying to put his emotions to words.

Silver closed his eyes for a moment and nodded slightly to show Luna that he did understand. In fact, he was slightly annoyed with himself for not understanding sooner. As he lay on the grass, dimly aware of anything but his own existence, Silver did something that he had never done before, for fear of what it would do to him if he did.

For fear of breaking his promise.

He closed off his mind completely, cutting himself off from the most valuable thing that he had and one of the only things he could trust. It startled him for a moment when the small and constant voices of idle thoughts disappeared completely, but he forced himself to relax.

And then he opened his heart, and thought in a way he never had before, in a way that was governed not by reason or intellect, but by emotion and passion. His heart beat strongly in his chest, stronger than ever before, Silver thought, and all at once, he understood.

He opened his eyes to see Luna peering at him with a curious smile on her face, one that he instantly met with his own small one. “Thank you Luna. That really straightened some things out for me.”

Luna nodded. “I’m pleased to hear that.”

“But I’m afraid I’m going to have to go.” He continued as he got to his hooves and brushed himself off. “I just realized that there’s something I need to do.”

Luna nodded again, her smile growing wider. “Is that so? Well, I shan’t hold you. It was nice seeing you again, my friend.”

Silver’s smile grew wider. He quickly walked up to his much taller friend and gave her a quick, friendly hug. “Likewise Luna.”

The Princess of the night chuckled, patting his foreleg that was around her neck. “Go on then, do what you must.”

Silver withdrew himself and nodded before turning around and taking off at a brisk trot towards his destination. Luna overheard him quietly mutter “I just hope it’s not too late…” as he went.

When he was over the hill and out of eyesight, she shook her head and chuckled. “Oh Silver Quill,” she murmured, turning her eyes to her moon that shone overhead. “If there’s one thing that I have learned in all my years…” she smiled softly. “It’s that it is never too late.”

Silver Quill broke into a run as he crested the hill, his hooves drumming against the grass, and as he reached the roads, kicking up dirt as he was spurned onwards by a strange sort of desperation. He breathed deeply and evenly as his mane whipped behind him, ignoring the startled exclamations of the few remaining ponies he came across on the street. Most were inside by now, but a few stragglers were taking the time to enjoy the night while it was quieter and more peaceful.

Silver turned a corner and skidded to a stop, just barely managing to avoid colliding with a curly maned earth pony who was dragging an overflowing sack of candy that was almost bigger than her entire body behind her. Her forehooves were making ruts in the ground as she strained against its weight, dragging it inch by inch with strained grunts.

She spat out the drawcord of the sack and sighed tiredly before giving him a big smile. “Heya Silver, what’s the big hurry? Timberwolves on your tail?”

Silver blinked, his eyes drawn to the cargo the pink mare was carrying behind her. He could spy a long line in the dirt behind her from where she had dragged it on what it seemed to be nothing but pure bullheaded will.

“Hey Pinkie…” he said. “That’s uh…a pretty big haul you got there.”

Pinkie looked at the bag that was nearly bursting at the seams with candy. “Neat huh?” she said with a happy grin. “It’s not as much as last year, but it should last me a few months or so.” Silver turned his incredulous eyes towards her, wondering how in the name of all that is good and righteous in this world could anypony hope to eat all that candy in only a few months. She must have the appetite of a fully grown dragon.

“Hey, you haven’t seen Nightm- I mean, Princess Luna around, have you?” Pinkie asked, interrupting his thoughts.

“Yes actually, I just finished talking to her. Why do you ask?” he replied.

“Really? That’s weird. She was in the middle of chasing us, threatening to devour our souls, that sort of thing,” she giggled amusedly. “when all of the sudden she gets this panicky look on her face, like somepony just told her that the sky was falling, and takes off into the air!”

“Is that so?” Silver replied curiously “She didn’t say anything? She just left?” Luna had been quite looking forward to Nightmare Night, he knew. It didn’t sound like her at all to just up and vanish.

“She said something about how ‘he’s in trouble’ before she took off, dunno what that means though.” The pink mare shrugged. “Oh well, if you talked to her, then I’m sure everything’s fine.” She picked up the drawstring in her mouth and smiled at him. “Well, I gotta go home and get some sleep before the sugar rush ends or I’ll fall asleep flat on my face. I’ll see you later Silver Quill!” She gave him a quick wave before taking off down the road with a surprising amount of speed that belied the weight of the burden she was carrying. Silver waved weakly in the direction she took off.

“So long.” he said quietly before slowly walking in the opposite direction, his brain feeling muddled and confused, and not just because of the mare that defied physics.

After a few minutes of walking, Silver found himself standing outside of the large hollowed out tree that served as Ponyville’s only library and Twilight Sparkle’s home. The door was only a few paces away from him, and he stood completely still, regarding it silently.

“Think with the heart…” he thought to himself. “not with the mind…”

He took a deep breath and forced his thoughts to slow down. Standing there, knowing what was behind that door, Silver shivered slightly in the cold of the night as he concentrated not on what his brain was telling him, but on what his heart was telling him.

Right now, it was telling him to open the door and face the one he loved.